Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 12:48 p.m., Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Senate vote on Akaka bill doubtful this week

By Derrick DePledge
Advertiser Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — A Native Hawaiian federal recognition bill hit a serious roadblock in the U.S. Senate today, after Hawai'i senators learned that as many as six Republican senators are blocking the bill from coming to the floor for a vote.

The opposition means the bill likely will not reach a vote this week, and raises doubt about whether the bill would be heard before the Senate breaks for an August recess, as Republican leaders had promised.

U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye, D-Hawai'i, and U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawai'i, continue to talk with Republicans, but may consider asking Democratic leaders to try to force a vote on the bill next week.

Democratic leaders would have to file a cloture motion, which would open up 30 hours of debate on the bill. Sixty votes are required to end cloture and free the bill to the floor.

Inouye said it would be an extraordinary step to take, but he believes he has enough votes.

Akaka also was optimistic.

"Just know we haven't given up," Akaka said.

The Republican objections include whether the bill would lead to gambling, and, more fundamentally, whether the U.S. government should recognize Native Hawaiians as it does American Indians.